Posted on Aug 29, 2023, 6 p.m.
At one point or another, all of us have tried to lose some weight, with varying success. Success depends on a variety of reasons, such as some methods being more effective for some than others, motivation, effort put in, and some methods being better suited to certain skill levels. Most often people get derailed when they lose motivation after seeing no results and give up too soon.
Weight loss is a journey, and this path is different for everyone. It seems like some people can lose weight just by thinking about it while others struggle. Life is full of detours, you may hit one, but that does not mean failure, it’s just a speed bump, consider it a learning opportunity to build upon. If at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself up and start again. There really is no single way to lose weight, and you need to find what works best for you.
Speaking of detours, a lot of them are tasty and tantalizing. Keep in mind that just because you are trying to shed some unwanted pounds doesn’t mean that you have to completely deprive yourself of everything, this approach is what helps to push a person to give up. But you will have to watch what you eat and limit eating those delicious goodies, moderation is the key.
Some detours have roadblocks, but what you may not be prepared for is that those roadblocks can turn out to be your friends and family. Weight loss often results in changes like confidence that can change social dynamics, and some people may not welcome all the changes. More importantly, they may not mean to do so, certain behaviors even if coupled with the best intentions could subconsciously derail your end goal. Be mindful of what you are or are not eating and what you are or are not doing and you will keep yourself on track.
If you are having a hard time remembering to do things, you may want to consider using technology. There is no shortage of weight loss aids in the tech department, these can range from a program on your computer/laptop/ tablet to a wearable, or a program in a home assistant. Recent research suggests that fitness trackers/programs/apps may be worth the money, and some of them are even free. This kind of tech represents practical options for those trying to lose weight. Depending on the app, they allow people to set and track physical activity, sleep, food, hydration, and other important factors in weight loss journeys as well as provide positive reinforcement and reminders to get up and move which promotes self-monitoring and self-regulation.
Exercise is the most effective way to lose weight, especially when combined with a healthy diet. There are so many opinions on the best way to effectively shed a few pounds, we’ve collected a few science-backed options that experts often recommend: Strength/Resistance Training, Yoga/Pilates/Tai Chi, HIIT, Water Exercises, and Foot Power (Run/Walk/Jog).
Metabolism-wise, lifting weights can help you to lose fat while building muscle, and muscle mass burns more calories than fat. Muscle growth can increase your resting metabolic rate, this means that when you have more muscle you will burn more calories every day, even when you are sleeping. Compounding exercises such as squats that require the use of more than one joint can help to enhance your results. Lifting weights refers to any type of resistance training that helps you to build muscle, as long as what you are moving challenges the muscles, this could be using bands, weights, or lifting a laundry basket full of cans.
Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and general stretching may not burn the amount of calories that weight training and HIIT can, but they can help you build endurance and become more limber and stronger. These precise stretching movements are still strengthening your muscles by using your body and gravity, and as a plus, they help to make you more confident and relaxed. You can take classes in any of these forms of exercises ranging from in a studio, at a gym, or following along at home on your computer.
Pilates can be done at different intensities, and it uses a mat with various tools and emphasizes core strength which helps with weight maintenance and makes you stronger. Yoga can also be done at different intensities, it combines physical activity with meditation and mindfulness to increase core strength, flexibility, and assist with weight management. Tai Chi is a form of martial arts for self-defense and health. These slow intentional movements are a gentle form of exercise and moving meditation that benefits both physical and mental health.
Interval training/HIIT is a broad term for a short burst of intense exercise that alternates with recovery periods. These workouts will typically last for 10-30 minutes and can burn a lot of calories while spending less time exercising. HIIT has been shown to be effective at burning belly fat, and it is fairly easy to incorporate into a regular exercise routine. Interval training helps you to benefit from cardio and strength training to maximize calorie burn in a short amount of time. Additionally, the intensity resets your metabolism to a higher rate, making it take longer for your body to cool down, meaning that you are still burning calories long after you finish your workout.
If you are looking for something that is more gentle on your joints, you may want to consider water exercises. Swimming is a great low-impact way to have fun while losing weight, just 60 minutes, three times a week can significantly reduce body fat, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Swimming uses many muscle groups from the upper and lower body, and you can increase intensity by using webbed gloves, weights, or flippers while you swim, as well as using different methods like the butterfly stroke while that water provides resistance against your movements. There are lots of exercises that can be done in water other than swimming, there’s water aerobics, aqua jogs, water walking, and sports like water polo or water volleyball.
Foot power is one of the most common forms of exercise that can be done just about anywhere and at any time in different intensities. You can walk, run, or jog yourself into better health by reducing visceral fat regardless of the pace you keep, although slower paces should go for longer distances, every step counts. Jogging can increase your metabolic rate for up to 24 hours, depending on pace, and when done on a regular basis boosts your metabolism for longer periods of time. Running may not be the best for beginners, but it is a great exercise for weight loss that burns calories, increases stamina, burns visceral fat, and improves cardiovascular health. Some experts recommend that you start off training yourself gradually with walking building up to jogging before moving on to running.
Research shows that if you choose an activity that you enjoy the chances are better that you will stick with it long-term, and doing an activity with a friend occasionally boosts motivation as well as opportunities for trying something new and fun. Regardless of your fitness routine, if you want to lose weight and/or improve your health you are going to need to take a look at the food you are putting into your body. For best results, you should try to avoid sugar-sweetened, refined, premade, packaged, and processed options of food and beverages which most definitely includes junk food, fast foods, drive-thrus, and takeout. Try to fill your plate with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, poultry, and lean cuts of meat. Bear in mind that even with more healthful choices you can still overeat, so watch your portion size and keep everything else in moderation.
No one said that weight loss would be easy, but the efforts are worth it, and you are worthy of experiencing the benefits and improved health that come with it. Even a small amount of weight loss can lead to substantial benefits. Set a realistic goal and stick with it. You can do it.
This article was written by Tamsyn Webber at worldhealth.net
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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